A couple of quick questions before planting

thapranksta(Mid TN 7A)March 16, 2012

Got my bare root trees coming in today and I want to make sure I ask a few questions before I pull out any shovel since I'm very new at this. It has been raining a lot and heavily where I live. I've been hearing and reading a lot that it's important to keep putting water in the planting hole as I am back filling to eliminate air pockets. Does this change when the soil is wet as it is now?

I know there is pruning that can be done during planting. But should the pruning be done right after planting the tree, very soon after, or any time after the tree breaks dormancy and shows buds?

Do any of you guys soak the tree roots in water or a transplant solution (Miracle Gro brand) before planting them? I thought I remember reading before that I could let them soak overnight. But I've been unable to find that information again.

Any other "gotchas"?

Thanks.

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Make sure you dig the hole just deep enough, if you dig too deep as the soil settles the tree settles and ends up too deep.

I like to backfill with water though if you are careful you don't even need to water a tree in after it is planted as long as the soil is already moist to start with.

I don't like to amend the soil..just think the trees do better and take off faster with the native soil.

Mulch the tree out at least 3 feet even if it is just a whip. By the time the roots get out there the mulch is breaking down and it is keeping the soil moist. I actually mulch my trees the day I plant them out 6 feet or so..looks silly at first but the tree grows in to the spot but we have just sand here and brutally hot sun so cool and moist is good.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:23PM
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thapranksta(Mid TN 7A)

Do you make sure the grass around the planting hole is cut really low before you apply mulch?

I've purchased the Scott brand mulch from Lowe's.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:48PM
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thapranksta(Mid TN 7A)

Digging a planting hole for a beginner is a lot more work than I thought. I didn't expect the root systems to be very wide or very deep (I guess this is a good thing) but I ended up with pretty large holes. I tried my best not to but I think I ended up digging 2 out of my 4 holes a little too deep (maybe an inch to inch and a half). I put soil in the bottom to try to accommodate for this. The actual graft point for these trees is around 3 inches above the soil line right now. One of my trees actually ended up a little high in the hole. The graft point is probably 4.5 inches above the soil line.

I can see that practice is really the only way to really get used to digging to the right depth. Measuring tape and a measuring stick only go so far. Hopefully none of my trees settle down too far and die as a result.

I also saw that you can encounter a lot of different types of soil in your backyard just by walking a few feet over. I was really happy to find out most of my soil looked like and displayed a lot of loam type characteristics - nice brown, very crumbly, and good bit of earthworm activity. But there was a patch of soil I dug into for one of my holes that had grayish green pure clay in it. This stuff would not crumble at all and maintained it's shape even when repeatedly chopped with the end of the shovel. I chose to move my planting hole a little further down where the soil was nice and crumbly with only a few spots of this clay.

I'm really excited. I really hope I don't lose any trees this time around.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 10:59AM
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Randy31513(Georgia 8b)

From your description, it sounds like you are in good shape.

Look up pruning right now don't wait. The first day of training starts the day you plant them. What you do now will pay off big time in the future.

First make a map of what is planted where. Yes, you will forget. Then remove those tags or before you know it, they will be grown into the tree. Keep the tags writing the date planted and where they came from.

Start your journal or log now with the planting date then when you fertilize make an entry and so on.

I keep my journal on my blog so I have pictures and post to keep what happens as time goes along.

Here is a link that might be useful: Georgia Home Orchard blog

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 1:58PM
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thapranksta(Mid TN 7A)

Thanks Randy,

Those are good ideas. It's funny you mention the tag because I did leave them on the trees. I was thinking earlier today while driving to work that I needed to remove them before they do just that. I've done minor pruning to one of the trees already. I cut back an Asian pear whip so that's it a little over 2 feet tall right after planting it. I've done nothing to my stone fruit trees at this point.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 4:37PM
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